Spring 2015
News and Notes

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Native American drummers, singers and dancers

Honoring Native Americans

Native American drummers, singers and dancers share a social aspect of northern Nevada tribal culture at the 2014 Nevada Rural Health Day event at the School of Medicine. Photo by Anne McMillin, APR.

School honors tribal health providers

The University of Nevada School of Medicine honored and recognized Native American Nevadans and those dedicated to their health at the annual Nevada Rural Health Day event on Nov. 20, 2014 on the Reno campus.

Daryl Crawford, executive director of the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada, accepted recognition on behalf of the Nevada tribes and explained the role of the Inter-Tribal Council, the non-profit governing body of tribal chairmen, and its efforts to provide health, social, educational and elder services along with economic opportunities to native peoples living in rural Nevada.

Tribal members offered explanation of some of their cultural ways including circle or round dances, which celebrate friendships, social communication and seasonal gatherings. Demonstrations of singing, drumming and dancing were also performed by members of various tribes in northern Nevada.

Keith Clark, with the School of Medicine’s Office of Rural Health, presented awards to tribal health care providers in attendance thanking them for their efforts for native people and recognizing the challenges of rural health care in general, and more specifically, Native American health care challenges.

Website overhaul project earns PRSA honor

The School of Medicine’s Marketing and Communications Office earned top honors at the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America’s annual Silver Spikes awards competition last fall for its overhaul of the school’s website. Kevin Murphy, the school’s web system coordinator and architect of the website rebuild, accepted the Silver Spike award, in the category of “Media Relations: Owned Websites.”

Synapse writer earns recognition

Anne Pershing took third place in the Nevada Press Association’s 2014 Better Newspaper Contest. Her story entitled “The Road to Medical School” in the spring 2013 issue was honored in the “Best Explanatory Journalism” category. A Pulitzer Prize nominated former editor, Pershing has been writing for Synapse for four years and is a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame and served on the board of the Nevada Press Association for 16 years.

Free caregiver rural training offered

The Nevada Geriatric Education Center offered free caregiver training sessions in several rural communities across Nevada last fall. These trainings, sponsored by the Aging and Disability Services Division, followed the theme “Healthy Brain, Healthy Body” and explained the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, presented strategies to maintain brain health, discussed principles and techniques to respond effectively to persons living with a form of dementia and explained the importance of physical activity.

Promoting health professions for Native Americans

The School of Medicine’s Area Health Education Centers hosted Native American college students for a workshop to increase their interest in health professions last August in Las Vegas. Hosting organizations of higher education from California and Nevada came together with the Association of American Indian Physicians to reach out to American Indian college students to fill needed health professions to serve Native American communities. Students attending the workshop represented 13 tribes, 10 universities and nine states.

Faculty earn Healthcare Heroes honors

Faculty members earned honors as Nevada Business magazine’s Healthcare Heroes last fall. The annual awards program honors Nevadans making significant contributions to health care across 10 categories in both the northern and southern regions of the state.

David AuCoin, Ph.D., was recognized for his research; Josh Bardin, M.D., was honored for teaching; J. Ivan Lopez, M.D., was recognized as a humanitarian and Miriam Bar-on, M.D., was recognized in the administrator category.

Sanders earns NIH Phase 3 grant

Kenton Sanders, Ph.D., above, chair of the physiology and cell biology department, has received Phase 3 funding in the amount of $5.4 million over the next five years from the National Institutes of Health to support his Center of Biomedical Research Excellence program on smooth muscle plasticity. The Phase 3 grant funding, an Institutional Development Award, will support further exploration of how smooth muscles change in response to disease.

Students at the Annual Bierkamper Research Convocation held last fallStudents excel at Bierkamper Convocation

Medical and graduate students excelled at the Annual Bierkamper Research Convocation held last fall. The convocation provides students the opportunity to present original research to a group of their peers and mentors. Apurva Sarathy took first place in the graduate student category while there was a tie for first place in the medical student category between Brittany Bartolome and a team consisting of Cole Gross, Chris Kurnik, Barre Guillen, Robert Childs, Reuel Meason, Danielle Hayes and Christina Works. Students participating in the convocation were evaluated by a panel of judges from the School of Medicine faculty. They competed in either the graduate student category or medical student category and were judged based upon the quality of their research, findings and presentation. The top student in each category will receive a cash award as well as recognition for their achievement during School of Medicine commencement ceremonies in May.